Epilogue: Heading Down New And Different Paths
Normal Point of View:
Later that night, Naruto was lying in his bed, staring at the ceiling. He was suddenly brought out of his thoughts when he heard something. When he sat up, he looked forward and saw the window opened. Not only that but there was someone sitting on the window sill.
"Huh? Who's there?" Naruto asked.
"Hmm, I'm glad that you're okay, Naruto." Said the calm voice.
"Ka…Kazumi-chan?" Naruto asked.
Naruto saw me stand up and enter his room. I stood beside the open window and saw Naruto sitting up in his bed. I was wearing a sleeveless dark blue shirt, which was attached to my dark blue mask and black loose-fitting pants. As I stood there, Naruto had a big smile on his face but suddenly it vanished.
"Kazumi-chan….. Sasuke….." Naruto started.
"Naruto, you don't have to say it. I already know." I told him.
"Huh? You do?" he asks.
I simply nod my head. "Yes." I said quietly. "But Naruto, its mostly my fault."
"Huh? How is that?" he asks.
"I thought that I would leave this between you and him. That's why I didn't get involved." I explained. "I wanted to do something. Even Sakura tried, yet I didn't. If, if you hate me, I don't blame you. I hate myself too."
I was about to continue but before I could, I found Naruto standing right in front of me. He's face looked calm but serious at the same time. But even with his face like that, I couldn't read anything else. I couldn't tell what he was thinking or what he was about to do. But like I told him, if he was mad and hated me, I wouldn't blame him for doing so.
"Naruto?" I asked.
Suddenly Naruto stepped forward and wrapped his arms around me, carefully pulling me into a hug. I immediately frozen in my spot. I was completely taken by surprise by Naruto's action. I knew if it was Sakura, she would have snapped and attack in a heartbeat. But I didn't do such a thing. Not to Naruto.
"Kazumi-chan. I don't hate you and I don't blame you. I never will." Naruto told me.
"But Naruto…." I began.
"Kazumi, I know that you would never fight your friends. So I knew you wouldn't fight Sasuke." Naruto explained. "I felt the same way too, but it's a little different with Sasuke and I. We're rivals." He said as he released me.
"I understand. But next time, next time will be different." I told him.
"Huh? What do you mean, Kazumi-chan?" Naruto says.
"Naruto, I promise that I am going to work hard and help you bring Sasuke back." I told him. "And that's a promise I intend to keep, no matter what."
"Heh, glad to have you aboard, Kazumi-chan." Naruto says happily.
"Let's promise each other that we are going to work hard and become stronger." I told him. "We will defeat any opponent that stands in our way, defeat the Akatsuki and bring Sasuke back home."
"Yeah. I'm with you all the way." Naruto agrees.
Kazumi's Point of View:
The following day, it was around noon and the sun was shining brightly high in the sky. Naruto was lying in his bed, bored out of his mind. He was even contemplating the idea of sneaking out of the hospital and try to get some training in. As Naruto lay there, continue to think, he heard a tap at his window. Naruto sat up, climbed out of bed and ran over to the window. When he looked off to his left, he saw me standing there, wearing a hooded jacket and holding one in my left hand.
"Kazumi-chan?" Naruto asks.
"Let's sneak out for some ramen." I told Naruto. "How about it?"
"Sure, I could go for some ramen." Naruto agrees as he takes the jacket.
Once Naruto had his jacket on, we both pulled our hoods over our heads. We jumped down and carefully landed on our feet. We quickly moved down the street, careful not to be spotted by any of the medical personnel. We were able to get to Ichiraku Ramen Shop with no trouble at all and started ordering ramen. As we sat there, I looked out the corner of my eye to spot Shizune and a group of Medical Nin gathering right in front of the shop.
"Oh man, did they already spotted us?" I asked myself.
"Maybe over there…." Shizune pointed and started running into that direction with the medical team right behind her.
"Phew, that was close." I thought and returned back to my ramen.
"Ichiraku's Ramen is the best for recovering!" Naruto yelled. "Old man, one more please!"
"Geez, calm down." I told Naruto as I finished my bowl. "One more for me too, please."
"Sure thing, you two." Teuchi told us.
But just before Naruto and I could get another bowl, we both got a bad feeling all of a sudden. When we looked back, we could see why. Shizune and her medical team were standing right behind us. Oh man, we were definitely busted.
"One more?" questioned Shizune. "You two snuck out of your hospital rooms, and now you're probably thinking of sneaking off to train!"
"No. It's nothing like that, Shizune." I tried to explain.
"And you. I'm shocked that you would do something like this, Kazumi." Shizune scolded. "I knew Naruto would do this, but you."
"Well, I hate hospitals anyway." I mumbled to myself.
"You guys want some, too?" Naruto asked them.
When we were returned back to the hospital, Shizune made the Medical Nin tie us down to the beds, keeping us from trying to sneak out again. I just glared as I watched Shizune and the team leave after they were done tying me down. I hated hospitals with a passion. I hated them more than Kakashi did.
A few weeks later, the time had finally arrived. Naruto was leaving to go train with Jiraiya. Naruto, Iruka-Sensei and I were all having a bowl of ramen together before it was time for Naruto to leave. But soon Iruka left and it was just me and Naruto.
"Hey! You better come back strong because I want to test your strength once you return." I told Naruto after I finished my ramen.
"That goes for you as well, Kazumi-chan." Naruto replied.
"It's about time to go, Naruto." Master Jiraiya says as he peeps inside the shop.
"Okay! Just give me a minute, would ya Pervy Sage." Naruto says as he finishes his ramen. "Kazumi-chan, I have something for you."
"Hmm? What is it Naruto?" I asked as I looked at him. I watched as Naruto took something out of his pocket and held it out to me. In his hands was a necklace. It was the same one he was wearing but instead it had a diamond stone instead of a teal colored one.
"Here, I had grandma Tsunade make this and I wanted to give it to you." Naruto explained as he sent me his huge grin.
"Wow, thanks Naruto." I said as I took the necklace and put it on. "Incredible. I love it. I will never take it off." After I said that, I gave Naruto a kiss on the cheek.
"I'm…..I'm….glad….you like…it. Kazumi-chan." Naruto stumbled as he's cheeks turned a bright red.
"Smooth kid, very smooth." Jiraiya thought to himself as he snickers under his breath.
"I'll catch ya later, Kazumi-chan. The next time you see me, I'll be stronger than before." Naruto yells as he runs down the street to catch up with Master Jiraiya.
"Heh, and I'll be waiting!" I yelled as I watched him leave, holding my necklace in one hand and waving in the other. "And I can't wait to see how strong you become." I thought.
And so, the members of Team 7 separate and started on new paths:
Naruto:Decided to leave the village after accepting the offer of getting training from one of the "Three Legendary Sanin", Master Jiraiya. But as Naruto heads down a different path, he refused to give up on Sasuke, his best friend, comrade and rival despite him going to Orochimaru of his own free will. But after hearing Kazumi saying that she can't wait to fight him when he returns, that just psyched him up even more.
Sasuke:After leaving the village to go for Orochimaru, Sasuke continues to fall deeper into the pit of darkness. The sight of his friends slowly begin to drift farther and farther away. All that matters to him was to become stronger so he could defeat the man who has made his life hell, his older brother, Itachi Uchiha. Nothing was going to stop him from reaching his goal, revenge.
Sakura:After seeing how weak and useless she was, Sakura was determined to prove her worth. So in doing so, she asks Lady Tsunade to let her become her apprentice and to learn medical Ninjutsu. And much to her surprise, "The Slug Princess of Elixirs" accepted the pink-haired kunoichi's offer.
Kazumi's Point of View:
I was leaning on a tree inside the training grounds, watching as the sun began to set. Naruto has already left and Sakura was inside Hokage Tower, working on perfecting her Medical Ninjutsu. I had already started my training and was slowly increasing my strength with each passing day. I could already feel my Ninjutsu and Taijutsu moves getting stronger the more I practice. I was also working on my summoning jutsu. My summoning partner, Nanako and I were getting stronger together. But I knew if I wanted to continue to get stronger, I had to continue training, no matter what.
"Naruto, I can't wait until we meet again. Until then, train hard and learn all the jutsu you can in that time period." I thought.
"Yo." I heard. I looked up to see Kakashi standing on a branch above my head.
"Hey, Onii-chan. You're back." I said.
"Yeah. Oh, I've also been given some time off, so I can help you with your training." Kakashi says as he jumps down and lands in front of me. "I figured that since there's going to be a full moon out tonight, we can work on your tracking skills."
"Hmm, sounds good." I agreed.
"So, mind telling me where you got that from?" he asked, gesturing to my necklace.
"Oh this? Naruto gave it to me." I explained as I held the necklace in my hand.
"Hmm? Sound like to me Naruto has a little crush on you." he says. "And I see that you must feel the same way.
"Humph, shut up." I mumbled. Kakashi just chuckled at my response.
"By the way, I noticed that you're getting better with your lightning chakra. We should start creating new more moves. And since you're more of a lightning user like me, I can teach you some of my own moves." Kakashi explained.
"Sounds good. So, what do we do in the meantime?" I asked.
"Hmm, good question." Kakashi says as he places a thinking look on his face. "Are you up to a sparring match?"
"You should be asking yourself that question, Onii-chan. After all, you just came back from a mission." I pointed out.
"True. How about this. We can go get something to eat, have a small break inside the training grounds and once we're done we can begin." Kakashi requested.
"I like that idea." I told him.
"So, let's head out." Kakashi says as he starts walking.
"Right." I said and ran to catch up with him. "Kakashi?"
"Hmm?" Kakashi says as he reads his book.
"I was thinking. Maybe I could join the ANBU for awhile. Maybe until Naruto comes back from his training with Master Jiraiya." I explained.
"Hmm? You want to join the ANBU?" he asks, surprised.
"Well, are you going to teach me assassination moves?" I asked.
"Hmm, I guess you do have a point there." Kakashi contemplated. "How about we work on becoming a Chuunin first, then Jounin before talking about being an ANBU?"
"Yeah, you've got a point. I'm getting to far ahead of myself." I said as I scratched the back of my head, a little embarrassed. "I do need to become a Chuunin first."
"Well, at least she understands. So no argument this time around." Kakashi thought. "Well Imouto, let's get going. After all, we are having tracking training tonight as well."
"Yeah, you're right." I agreed. "Lead the way."
Kakashi and I continued to walk forward, heading back into town. I knew I could always trust my brother with anything. And I knew that these next three years were going to be tough but they were going to fly by quick. And one thing is for sure, I can't wait to see Naruto again.